Chemists at Arizona State University in Tempe have created a tiny hydrogen-gas generator that they say can be developed into a compact fuel cell package that can power these and other electronic devices -- from three to five times longer than conventional batteries of the same size and weight.
The generator uses a special solution containing borohydride, an alkaline compound that has an unusually high capacity for storing hydrogen, a key element that is used by fuel cells to generate electricity. In laboratory studies, a prototype fuel cell made from this generator was used to provide sustained power to light bulbs, radios and DVD players, the researchers say.
The fuel cell system can be packaged in containers of the same size and weight as conventional batteries and is recharged by refilling a fuel cartridge, they say. Research on these battery replacement fuel cells, which they claim are safer for the environment than regular batteries, was described today at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
"We're trying to maximize the usable hydrogen storage capacity of borohydride in order to make this fuel cell power source last longer," says study leader Don Gervasio, Ph.D., a chemist at the University's Biodesign Institute, Center for Applied NanoBioScience. "That could lead to the longest lasting power source ever produced for portable electronics."
One of the challenges in fuel cell development is finding hydrogen-rich compounds for the fuel source. Many different hydrogen sources have been explored for use in fuel cells, including metal hydride "sponges" and liquids such as gasoline, methanol, ethanol and even vegetable oil.
Recently, borohydride has shown promise as a safe, energy-dense hydrogen storage solution. Unlike the other fuel sources, borohydride works at room temperature and does not require high temperatures in order to liberate hydrogen, Gervasio says.
Gervasio and his associates are developing novel chemical additives to increase the useful hydrogen storage capacity of the borohydride solution by as much as two to three times that of simple aqueous sodium borohydride solutions that are currently being explored for fuel cell development. These additives prevent the solution from solidifying, which could potentially clog or damage the hydrogen generator and cause it to fail.
In developing the prototype fuel cell system, the researchers housed the solution in a tiny generator containing a metal catalyst composed of ruthenium metal. In the presence of the catalyst, the borohydride in the water-based solution reacts with water to form hydrogen gas.
The gas leaves the hydrogen generator by moving across a special membrane separating the generator from the fuel cell component. The hydrogen gas then combines with oxygen inside the fuel cell to generate water and electricity, which can then be used to power the portable electronic device. Commercialization of a practical version of this fuel cell could take as many as three to five years, Gervasio says.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat
18.05.2018 | DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Researchers control the properties of graphene transistors using pressure
17.05.2018 | Columbia University
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology